Resume

Resume Formatting can be the Key to getting the Interview

Resume Formatting can be the Key to getting the Interview

Resumes can be the key to opening the door to your first interview or a direct path to the trash bin.  Hiring Managers and Recruiters see 100’s of resumes for every job opening.  There are 1,940,000 entries on google for “the 6 second scan of your resume”.  Yes – 6 seconds.  Barely more than a blink.  If you pass the scan the resume gets moved to the “follow up file” for a more in-depth look at.  At this point you might get an email or a phone call looking for more detailed job related exposure.

Planet4iT has been using the format in our slideshare presentation very successfully for the last 15 years.  Give it a try and good luck with your job hunting.

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How Big Data and Technology has changed the face of HR

Do you remember typing your resume up on an electric typewriter (lol even I don’t go back as far as the manual typewriters).  One for each company you were applying for.  Back in the 1980’s jobs were in short supply.  It was normal for someone to send out 200 resumes before they received an interview.  Each resume had to be typed individually.  Stuffed into an envelope, stamped and posted or dropped off manually hoping this might give you a leg up on the competition.  Every morning a mini forest landed in the mailroom, sorted into a cart and delivered to the Hiring Manager by the “mail girl” (that was how I started at Ontario Hydro).  Reams of resumes had to be sorted into job categories and then sorted into:  trash, contact, keep on file.  And yes you are right, all these people were then contacted by mail or phone depending on the decision.  Answering machines were in short supply in homes in the 70s and 80s, so it was OK to phone the company to see what the status was on your application.  The next step was storage.  The resumes that weren’t put in the trash were stored in big grey filing cabinets.  After their “shelf live expired” they were archived – which meant put in a box and stored in another location.  There was no recycling back then and we hated throwing anything away.   If you didn’t have a good filing system good luck finding anything in this paper filled “big data” system.

One of the companies I worked for in the early 90’s used to scan 1000’s of paper resumes into their databases every day.  It was a very basic database, name, contact info and a dump of the resume.    

 

Along came the Recruiter

Large companies like IBM, Ontario Hydro, General Electric, etc soon figured out that they couldn’t keep up with the piles of paper resumes coming in.  What to do?  Here’s a great idea let’s outsource it to a “Headhunting/Recruiter” company.  They can deal with all the paper, the follow up with the people we aren’t interested in and do the screening of the applicants we are seriously interested in.  

 

Next step was the Applicant Tracking System “ATS”

The monster job board was created in 1994.  Companies jumped onboard paying the fees to use their online database.  The late 1990s found companies running their own ATS systems.  If you go onto the TD site today there are 21 pages of jobs with the keyword “Developer” in it.  If you are interested in one of these positions, be prepared for 15 minutes of ticking boxes and entering data before you even attach your resume.  Don’t forget anything or – boom – rejected.  Your resume then goes into a MASSIVE database of potential employees.  

The ATS morphed into individual databases for SMBs.  Recruiting companies’s can easily have 100,000 entries in their databases.  Now comes the problem, how do you deal with all this information?  

  • Let’s look up keywords.  Oops that can be an issue because anyone who has written a resume in the last 15 years knows to make sure they put the keywords all over their resume. 
  • Keep it clean, don’t let your DB become a MONSTER.  
  • Keep your candidates active.

Big Data and HR is a 2-way Street

This is where H2H (human 2 human) is still an important part of the HR and Big Data Analytics system.  They have to work together.  What is the most important thing you both can do to keep the system working properly?

  • Databases can easily get overrun with duplicate records.  Don’t send in your resume multiple times with different names or different email addresses.  It just clogs up the search process.  You might be the one who gets lost.
  • Use standard titles, a Java Developer is easy to search on.  A fancy title isn’t
  • Keep in touch – Keep your contact information and resume up to date.  When you change jobs send a new copy of the resume in to your recruiter, or update the companies online DB.  
  • If you are a recruiter send out newsletters and email blasts.  If you are a candidate subscribe to these.  
  • Don’t forget the direct approach – a direct email or a phone call is always the best way to keep your relationship growing.

HR – means Human Resources, hiring a person can’t be done strictly from a database. Resumes are your history, databases are a means of contact.  To land the job you have to bring the H2H into the process.  

References – when Job Hunting have them ready to go

“References available upon request” – the most unnecessary sentence on a person’s resume.  Every job hunter, interviewer, Hiring Manager knows that the chances of being offered a position without references are NIL.  Even worse than that sentence is “Referees available upon request”.  Yes it is amazing the number of resumes I have seen with that sentence on it.  LOL  please don’t bother applying if you are sending me your referees!!!

Applying for a Job:

Read the job description carefully, references are usually only requested when you are getting to the offer stage.  Don’t send them in if they aren’t asked for.  Don’t put them on the bottom of your resume.  References are doing you a favour, don’t pass along their information until necessary.  Yes there are exceptions. There are a number of online company resume submission sites (usually large companies like Banks, IBM, etc) who ask for everything up front:  Resume, Cover Letter and References.  Don’t bother submitting to these sites unless you have all the information requested.

Interview:

This is one of the times when you may be asked for your references.  Employers don’t want to see  letters from your references starting with “To whom it may concern”.  They don’t want a list of your LinkedIn recommendations.  They want a straight forward copy of your references.  So be prepared.  Take a copy of your references with you,  in the following format:

 

Offer Stage:

Most employers will ask you for your references when they are getting to the offer stage.  You may be given a verbal offer dependent on your references.  When it’s a hot job market, employers know that you may be interviewing for more than one job.   They want to let you know that they want you, but your references are the final stepping stone.

References:

    • 3 minimum – including someone from your current employer.  Nothing better than having a reference from your current boss, this might be difficult so a colleague or team member will work.  Job appropriate references are nice to have, if you are interviewing for a job as a programmer in a financial institution and you have worked for a bank before then a colleague who can relate to the actual position is a bonus.  If you are a new graduate then a reference from a professor/teacher is better than your parents.
    • Keep your references up to date.  Make sure they are willing to do a positive reference for you.  Send them a copy of the job description and your resume so they know what you are up to.  Ask them what the best number and “time” to be reached at is.  Employers use reference checking services now so calls can be made before 9, during lunch, after 5.
    • Try and get references that would answer the question “Would you hire them again” with an emphatic “YES”.  References are very careful about how they answer questions and companies don’t want to get sued so they will tend not to say anything negative, but sometimes a non answer speaks volumes.
    • Use LinkedIn – keep in touch with the colleagues you would like to be your references.  Ten (10) years ago you would call your reference and if they had left their job good luck finding them.  LinkedIn makes it so easy to keep track of people and communicate with them.  Keep the relationship fresh and up to date.

References are an integral part of the successful job hunting journey.  Always try and leave your last job on a positive note and you won’t have to worry about your reference check.  Keep them up to date and keep in touch with them.